Lisa Rourk-- August 2002 -- Walt Disney World (PORFQ)
We have recently become frequent visitors and addicts of the Walt Disney World.
Trip Dates: August 2-4, 2002
Where: Port Orleans Resort, French Quarter. Originally the postcard rate was so good, we had reservations at AKL. But it didn't make sense to stay there because we weren't going to visit AK and we wanted to spend all day Friday at Downtown Disney.
Why: We had a day left on our Park Hopper Passes from our trip in February. It was our anniversary and we couldn't agree where to go. Finally, we remembered our Passes, and a postcard deal came in the mail. Why not? We didn't dare tell our boys, ages four and two, because they would have never let us go without them. They talk about Disney constantly and beg to watch the trip planning video quite frequently.
Instead of purchasing an extra day for our passes, we decided we would drive down on Friday, head to downtown disney for the day, tour AKL and Boardwalk, and just enjoy the aura of Disney, without the hassle of the parks.
August 2, 2002
We packed the car the night before after dropping our kids off with their grandparents, and set the alarm for 2:30 a.m. We were on the road by 3:00 am. It is amazing how quickly you can leave the house without children.
There was almost no traffic. We made it to Jacksonville by 6:30 am in time to get the first biscuits out of the oven at the Hardees. We continued to Orlando and made it to Port Orleans Resort French Quarter by 9:00 am. We had stayed at Riverside before, and this was much quieter, albeit a little deserted. We checked right into our room in Building 5, overlooking the courtyard and pool area. The building was close to the lobby, bus stop and pool area. We dropped off our luggage and hopped on the bus to Downtown Disney. We had lunch at Rainforest Cafe and browsed the shops. Lunch was very long here, and we spent almost fifty dollars! (what on earth did we eat?) We bought the new collectible Disney Racer Matchbox Cars for the kids, and some Christmas ornaments for their grandparents. We had Chocolate Fudge sundaes at the Ghiradelli shop and we decided to hop a bus to AKL to check it out.
The AKL was very beautiful, but we were glad we made the decision to stay at Port Orleans since we would be able to take the boat back home later that evening. We think a major benefit to staying at Port Orleans is the river cruise to downtown disney. It is so peaceful, somewhat romantic and a great relaxing end to an evening. From AKL, we took the bus back to downtown Disney and made it back to Port Orleans. We took an hour long nap, and took the boat to Downtown Disney, where we caught a bus to the Boardwalk. We had never been here before, and it took our breath away. Being that we don't like to waste a lot on fancy hotel accomodations, we probably won't stay here, but it is very tempting. What we enjoyed about the resort is the overall atmosphere, the restaurants and shops and the proximity to Epcot and MGM.
We strolled through ESPN and a couple of other shops and bought gifts. Spoodles caught our eye and we decided to have dinner there. This was a wonderful meal. We ordered an entree and a couple of appetizers and a salad. It was plenty for us. We loved the furnishing here and took pictures of the light fixtures and furniture throughout the restaurant. The atmosphere made you feel like you were vacationing in the Mediterraean. After dinner, we strolled the Boardwalk, bought coffee and rocked in the rockers on the porch of the Boardwalk, enjoying the musicians below. It was great! We stayed here until 10:30 and then made it back to Downtown Disney. From here, we walked around some more and then hopped the boat to our resort. We were in bed by midnight.
August 3, 2002
Ready to go by 7:00am, we ate a light breakfast in the room and hopped on the bus to Magic Kingdom. We had already decided what rides we were going to hit first, and decided to visit MK, Epcot and MGM, leaving off AK, our least favorite park.
We were waiting in Tomorrowland at rope drop and headed right away to ET. Not as scary sitting on the back row. The front is way more frightening. Then we rode Space Mountain and headed to Frontierland. We rode Pirates of the Caribbean twice (our absolute favorite), and the Jungle Cruise. Then we headed to Epcot. It started to rain and we didn't have ponchos and didn't care. We dodged the rain where we could, but decided to act like teenagers and shrug it off. Today we were doing disney commando style. After obtaining a FP for Testtrack, we had lunch in Tomorrowland. It was greasy and did not have a good selection for those of us wanting something other than burgers and fries. But we were hungry and didn't have our dining guide with us. Since the Imagination! ride had decided to bring back Figment, we took a spin and it was cute. Not as cute as the initial ride, but I love the song and am fond of Figment.
We decided to go to MGM and hit TOT and then Rockin' Roller Coaster. We got a FP for RRC and caught Drew Carey Sounds Dangerous, a big waste of time. We didn't enjoy it and thought it was boring.
Keith wasn't happy I was dragging him on RRC due to a sick headache last visit, and I wasn't happy he was dragging me on TOT, because I don't like rides that drop you. After riding, we decided they were both a lot of fun and worth it. I was amazed how many people were getting off TOT and riding over and over again. The lines were not long.
We bought popcorn and a drink and took the water taxi over to Epcot. It was raining, so Test track was still closed. From here we road Spaceship Earth and bought gifts in MouseWorks. Then, we toured the Countries again and
decided to have dinner in Mexico after riding El Rio De Tiempo. It is always a very romantic place to eat. We then walked toward France and bought three pastries to share and some coffee. Enjoying a leisurely walk through the countries, we decide to skip TestTrack sine they had just started the ride up again, but we wanted to head to Magic Kingdom one more time. Tried to give our FP away to people, but had no takers.
We took the Monorail to MK and rode Pirates Again, then wanted to check out Splash Mountain. The line was incredibly long, and there were no more FP, but we lucked out when a kind soul offered us two FP! We got in line and really enjoyed Splash Mountain. We had forgotten how long and wonderful it is! Rode Pirates one more time, and then walked through Fantasyland, a nightmare, and the decided to grab a seat outside the Plaza and watch the fireworks and take in all the magic. We had had a great weekend and wanted to stay in the Park as long as we could.
Finally, we took a bus to POR and got off at Riverside. We went to the Piano Bar, grabbed some drinks and had a great time. This place is always rockin' but don't go there expecting to be a fly on the wall. You have to introduce yourself and everyone gets into the act with the performer who is incredible! We enjoyed ourselves and then walked over to French Quarter and took showers and went to bed. It was after Midnight and we knew we had a long drive the next day.
After breakfast in the Food Court, we took our time visiting the outlets in Orlando, had lunch, and then drove back to Charleston.
Walt Disney World is great for people of all ages. Some of my friends think we are crazy for spending adult time at Disney World, but we had a wonderfully exciting trip, and got to see so much of everything. We have planned another trip for May, eight nights, this time with the kids, and plan to stay at PORR. It is a phenomenal deal to stay at Riverside, have an upscale atmosphere, a fantastic piano bar, and the convenience of the boat ride to Downtown Disney. We think the kids will love it.
All in all, the temperatures were surprisingly cool. I was often freezing in shorts and a t-shirt, probably due to the rain. The parks were not overly crowded. We did not take in any bags so as to avoid to lengthy baggage check lines. We made do with whatever would fit into our pockets and charged our meals to the room. When you only have a few days to spend, it made sense for us to make ever minute count, and we did exactly that. It was a marvelous trip!